Thursday, December 24, 2015

Colin Linden Rich in Love

Blues has always been a foundation for the music of Colin Linden, although his music has evolved to encompass rock, country and other roots music. Now based in Nashville(and he is even the musical director for the TV show Nashville), he had spun together a new roots recording, "Rich In Love" (Stony Plain)  full of original songs and given some marvelous performances. Linden wrote all 12 songs, although five songs were written with the collaboration with amongst others Janice Powers, Tom Hambridge and Gary Nicholson.

Linden and his various guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles are joined by his fellow members of The Rotting Matadors, bassist John Dymond and drummer Gary Craig. Charlie Musselwhite adds harp to several selections, Reese Wynans adds piano/organ to a number of song and Amy Helm contributes harmonies to several songs as well. This is a terrific country-roots group that play some really strong songs such as the opening "Knob & Tube," with his clever use of electrical terms to describe a relationship ("the current runs from me to you like knob & tube"). Mix in his grainy, genuine singing and adept musicianship and one has a fine performance. He also understands the value of restraint as on the next track "I Need Water," with Tim Lauer adding atmosphere on the organ as Linden sings he needs water to fill these tears as he deals with his heartbreak.

"Delia Come For Me," is a fine ballad which opens with just acoustic guitar as he sings of being framed because he was the first man they found and put someone away and bury in the ground (and he adds some electric guitar fills as Dymond and Craig provide sympathetic support. Musselwhite and Wynans are present on "The Hurt," a bluesy number with Musselwhite playing some very strong accompaniment followed by a lovely and gentle "Everybody Ought to Be Loved."

The title track opens in a somber, austere manner as Linden sings about his baby used to cry while he was sleeping," with Musselwhite's embellishments adding to the mood generated by the vocal and guitar. His way with words and the music mike be likened to The Band in his blending of various musical threads and his adroit way with words like on the plaintive "And Then You Begin," or the honky tonk flavor of "Luck of Fool," with nice use of tremolo.

Linden's songs are sung with wit, warmth and thoughtfulness, superbly played although he and his band eschew empty flash and mirrors, resulting is one terrific recording that will appeal to a very wide audience.

I received my review copy from Stony Plain. My review appeared in the November-December Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 363) downloadable at Here is Colin Linden performing.

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